Is Organic Produce Worth the Price?

When my friend Meg stopped by yesterday, she commented on the bowl of cherries adorning my kitchen counter. “Cherries,” she said, “Where can you get affordable cherries?”

“You can’t,” I told her, “I paid five bucks a pound for those.”

Yes, a bowl of precious jewels, they are.

I was thinking about that conversation later in the afternoon and it occurred to me that I don’t bat an eyelash over the $3.00 price tag for a frothy coffee drink or the mediocre pastry to go along with it. Yet on Sunday at the farmer’s market, found myself pausing over the same amount for a pound of peaches.

Why is that?

Those peaches came from a small, family-run farm that grows everything organically on a spread not far from where I live. And they’re really nice to me – samples galore — which is more than I can say for the guy who sells me that coffee drink.

The peaches were fragrant, just firm enough, and after sitting in the sunlight of my kitchen, warm and juicy to the bite.

It’s a privilege to eat such food. Yes, $3 a pound or $5 a pound for fruit might give me pause, especially when my kids can power through it before I even get out of the market. But making such a choice is voting with your fork for something that tastes as it should, delicious, and is hopefully grown with care for the earth and for the people who do the hard labor of getting the food from farm to table.

Plus I don’t know about you, but I’d opt for the cherries and the peaches over the flabby scone and frothy coffee any summer’s day.

For guidance on stretching your organic food dollars, this info about the Dirty Dozen and Clean 15 may help.

If you do happen to have cherries sitting on your kitchen counter, or peaches in your fruit bowl…

Check out this versatile Cherry Compote from Whole Living.

Use sliced peaches in place of apples in this Rustic Italian Cake.

Try this recipe for Grilled Pork with Peaches from Dinner a Love Story.

Indulge in one of my favorites: Cherry Clafouti from Smitten Kitchen

 

Comments

06.19.2012 at 8:03 AM #

Anne Mullen

Put that way, who can resist that good fruit? Have coffee at home.

06.19.2012 at 8:03 AM #

katiemorford

Especially when you have such wonderful goodies where you are every summer!

06.19.2012 at 8:56 AM #

Meg

Now that, Ms. Morford, is what I call putting things in perspective! Love it. Shifting my thinking a bit…and taking the cost of those delicious gems out of the weekly grocery bill and thinking of them as delectable and mother-earth loving treats I’d gladly buy instead of a coffee. Yes!

06.19.2012 at 4:03 PM #

Monica

Especially amazing seasonal produce like cherries and peaches! You can get that overpriced coffee drink year round, but good organic, tree-ripened peaches only come a few months a year!

06.19.2012 at 4:03 PM #

katiemorford

Very well put, Monica. Thanks.

06.20.2012 at 12:10 PM #

Bliss Tobin

This is a tough one for me. First, Katie, I am grateful that you have put it into perspective – we do all make choices on how we spend our money. Thank you – local, organic produce over so many other less healthy options. It could be a $4 latte, or the latest plastic toy. Still, I struggle with knowing that organic, local farmers need to make the living they deserve, and yet, how can I participate in making the same gorgeous, healthy food more accessible to all? I believe there are some programs to bring leftover produce from Farmer’s Markets to organizations that can distribute them more widely and affordably. (More information on this would be welcome). I have just been through 3 months of a restrictive diet, in which our groceries have been the very most selective, and the bills have shot through the roof. This has been balanced by the fact that we are not eating out, but I’m aware that this is not possible for all. I know, this is a much larger socio-economic issue…….. I will close feeling fortunate for my circumstances and will be trying Katie’s grilled pork with peaches.

06.20.2012 at 12:10 PM #

katiemorford

Thanks for your thoughtful comment, Bliss. This is such a giant topic, far beyond the scope of my little take on it. Yes, all of these gorgeous foods should be affordable and accessible to all. I do know that programs are in the works, among them the option to use food stamps at farmer’s markets. When a large order of fries comes so very cheap and so easy, it’s hard to opt for the pricey pound of organic potatoes.

06.21.2012 at 2:51 PM #

Bliss Tobin

I also want to say that your “dirty dozen” and “clean 15” is a great start to managing good food and the pocketbook. I refer to it every time I shop. Thank you!

06.21.2012 at 2:51 PM #

katiemorford

That’s a good point, Bliss. I do think that is a really useful tool.

02.22.2013 at 10:48 AM #

Kimberly

AMEN! It drives me insane when people talk about how expensive produce is, but routinely buy boneless skinless chicken breast or ribeye steaks. Or the coffees or they pay $20 a week to get their nails done and don’t blink an eye…but they freak if they have to pay over $1.50 for a loaf of bread. I’m in the PNW and we have Taco Time here. It’s fresh, delicious, local and only slightly more expensive than Taco BELL, but people always complain about how “expensive” it is. REAL FOOD is worth paying for!

02.22.2013 at 10:48 AM #

katiemorford

Preaching to the choir over here. Thanks for the comment.

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